Breakout

16-Year-Old Actress Turns Into Stock Day Trader

Jeff Macke
Breakout

Rachel Fox isn’t an ordinary 16-year-old. She's already graduated from high school and has been a working Hollywood actress for years, appearing in shows like Desperate Housewives as evil Kayla Scavo and in the film Dream House with Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts. When she’s not on set she can often be found on stage, singing and playing guitar in an indie rock band.

That would be a packed schedule for most of us, but Rachel has another activity that’s a real passion. For the last year-and-a-half she’s been actively day-trading stocks with her own money. She says she's been racking up stellar returns, claiming a 30.4% gain in 2012, versus the benchmark S&P 500 which gained 13% for last year.

While she’s doing it all, she’s also helping teach people about investing via her website FoxOnStocks.com. On the site she updates her thoughts on the markets and posts videos for those new to the game; teaching them how to do the basics like finding quotes and understanding what a stock option is. For now, the blog is just for fun, she has no plans to monetize; just teach others how to invest, the way her Mom taught her.

From the time she was 8 years-old her mother would read to she and her sister from a book on finance that was kept in the house. Even as she was teaching her daughters fundamental investing, Rachel’s mom was warning them about the stock market.

“She had explained that the market is different nowadays; it’s not so ‘oh you buy something, you hold it for a long time, and can grow with the company,'” Rachel says in the attached video, casually dismissing 100 years of stock market theory. “Nowadays we have day traders, institutional investors and people who just rip the market up and make stocks go like crazy.”

Which is why Rachel started trading stocks with virtual money, until she proved to her parents that she had a knack to make smart investments. In November 2011, she began trading using her own income from acting.

“Last year I made 338 day trades,” she says proudly. Trading that often is not just a hobby. Rachel is up at 6:30am every morning, looks through her account, scans headlines and then makes her picks for the day. She uses a standard brokerage account and makes use of an app that enables her to trade on her smartphone.

“The days when I’m working on set in between takes I’ll be on my iPhone trading; it’s a solo project,” she shrugs, “I’m just doing this.” There’s not a frenetic stock exchange vibe surrounding her at work, just a young actress trading stocks on her phone. Most of her co-workers probably just assume she’s texting the way people her age are “supposed” to. She doesn't talk about trading with other Hollywood-types; she only shares some investing ideas with her parents on occasion.

Her methodology for stock picking isn’t going to be in one of her mom’s textbooks anytime soon. For the vast majority of her trades she’s going strictly by her gut instinct and technicals, or stock charts. She tries to ignore the news flow that fundamental players live off, and instead watches price action and lets the charts guide her on when to buy and sell.

Her dream targets are companies that have been pushed too far away from their normal trend. It’s what traders call overbought or oversold.

“If the stock is seriously sick with one of those cases I’ll just go right at it,” she says sounding just a little like a grizzled trading floor veteran being channeled through a teenage girl. “I’ve got some shark instincts.”

Rachel’s best trade so far in 2013 is a short sale on high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF). “The stock kept going up and up and up and was really overbought and I had the instinct,” she explains. After putting on her short position, she woke up the next morning to find a trader’s dream: the shares were collapsing on weak earnings. “I short sold it and the next morning when I woke up it had dropped $3 or $4; it was perfect,” she says.

Not all trades are wonderful though. Rachel says her first trade was her worst trade. When she was 15-years-old, she got a stock tip from a family friend at Thanksgiving dinner. It was a $2 stock, sure to go to $10 she was told. The stock is now trading under a penny. But the beating she took didn’t make her want to quit; it motivated her to start generating her own ideas.

“I learned not to take stock tips from people because I think it’s so important that you enter and exit trades on your own instinct.”

In the bigger picture Rachel sees no reason why she can’t trade and act at the same time. “It’s going to be Oscars while day trading,” she says about her future. “I’m going to be acting until I can barely see anymore and the same with stock trading. I’m going to be stock trading forever.”

She also plans to continue blogging and expanding her video content. The topics she covers aren't just for traders like herself. Rachel wants to give people the basics and let them decide how to best fit it to their personal temperament and goals. “I’m just doing what my parents did with me. I’m saying ‘here’s the market, here’s how it works.’”

And she's even tackled questions about her age in a recent blog post. For now, she leave us with some advice you just wouldn't expect from the average teenager:

“Learn how to make your money grow, it is one of the most empowering things you can know.”

What do you think about Rachel's advice and ambition to act, trade, and teach? Let us know in the comment section below or visit us on Facebook!

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